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Chroma Shines Light on PV Panel Performance

Tue, 04/13/2010 - 9:50am
Chroma Solar Application Soft PanelChroma Systems Solutions, Inc. continues contributing to the photovoltaic industry with the introduction of its Solar Application Soft Panel. This straightforward and effective software tool utilizes Chroma's industry leading 63600 series DC Electronic Loads to generate PV module I-V curves and track their Maximum Power Point. Through an intuitive graphical user interface, the Soft Panel allows users to record and analyze a module's electrical characteristics and output behavior without having to configure any hardware. Combined with their 63600 loads, Chroma has developed a complete out-of-the-box test and diagnostics solution for any production, quality lab, or field installation environment.

Analyzing module I-V data at various stages of the PV process can aid in assuring product reliability. This software provides and reports valuable information from early signs of degradation that may develop over the course of the PV module's life.

Chroma's Solar Application Soft Panel takes full advantage of DMM like measurement accuracy and multiple power ranges found in the 63600 series DC Loads, whose compact and modular design provide the right dose of portability and power. These electronic loads are capable of operating at low voltages, thus eliminating any need for external bias sources and minimizing data losses near the Isc point.

One of the best features of this software tool is its Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) capability, which utilizes Chroma's loads to keep the PV module operating at its maximum efficiency. Analyzing a PV module's ability to output maximum available power over an extended period of time and in various climate conditions can also provide excellent design feedback, contributing to essential product improvements. The algorithm used to achieve Maximum Power Point Tracking is based on the popular Incremental Conductance approach, which utilizes the fact that the slope of a Power Curve is zero at the maximum power point. The Solar Application Soft Panel continually adjusts the electronic load's constant current set-point in order to maintain the PV module's output power at this point, while dynamically adjusting range during abrupt sunlight condition changes, to ensure optimal measurement resolution.

About Chroma Systems Solutions

Chroma Systems Solutions, Inc. is the North American business unit of Chroma ATE, the world leader in power testing instruments and systems. With offices and manufacturing facilities located around the globe, Chroma is committed to provide excellence in product, service, and innovation. Chroma Systems Solutions is located in Lake Forest, CA. Please visit www.chromausa.com for more company and product information or call us at (949) 600-6400.

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